|Posted on February 7, 2010 at 5:46 AM|
First the display hangs or freezes for a few seconds, then the entire display shuts down. Not a black screen, but one without any power running to it. The display then powers up and the above error message appears as a balloon down by the System Tray (lower-right corner). Running Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit (OEM) on a Toshiba Qosmio laptop (15 months old).
I started getting these problems back at the beginning of January, 2010 while playing online videogames. Researching this online yielded a plethora of results. Seems a great many people have had similar messages and problems with this Nvidia driver (even on ATI) as far back as 2007. The driver itself appears to have obscure origins as it's not even listed as a primary driver in the list of Nvidia drivers in System Information. I use a freeware program called SIW (System Information Windows) to get extremely detailed information on my computer's workings and properties.
I suspected at first that I had a trojan or some other form of malware, that are famous for yielding cryptic operational messages. I checked that as thoroughly as possible, but as far as I can tell, my system is clean. I put it that way because it's impossible to be 100% certain that a system is malware-free. Some malware, such as rootkits, can fool even the best scanners.
After a thorough reading of the problems other people have encountered, I first updated my Nvidia drivers to the latest rollout from their website: http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index5.aspx?lang=en-us
The frequency of these error messages dropped sharply after implementing it.
Next, I tried turning off Windows Defender and its updates, replacing it with Avira AntiVir http://www.free-av.com/ in the System Security Center. I had only one error message since making this change. A good site I found for help on this problem is http://www.nvlddmkm.com/
Since my system is portable, it has a battery. However, in the past three months I've had the laptop plugged-in all the time. Something in January appeared to have changed my laptop's Power Profile from Balanced to High Performance. I had made no such changes myself. Could the computer have done this automatically? I had read online that these error messages occurred most frequently for others when running their computers flatout at the highest power settings. So, I put the Power Profile for the laptop back to Balanced. This uses less power than High Performance, but if more power is required it's still available as needed. Since making this change, I've had no error messages at all.
This was my solution. Other people have been successful at ending these error messages using entirely different methods and techniques. If you are researching this problem, get as many different answers as you can before deciding to do something about it. Above all, be careful when you make changes of any kind to your computer. My best advice is to go slowly, have a backup, and if you think you need to make a major change, consult with an expert at a site such as http://spywarehammer.com/ or http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-us/categories/ They have experts that do both hardware and software.
This posting is provided "AS IS" without warranty, and confers no rights. Written by Larry Stevenson, MVP Consumer Security 2006 to present.